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Monthly Archives: July 2011

“Smite our rocky heart”

This morning I read through Spurgeon’s morning and evening devotional and this passage really spoke to me.

And when he thought thereon, he wept.”—Mark 14:72.
Thas been thought by some that as long as Peter lived, the fountain of his tears began to flow whenever he remembered his denying his Lord. It is not unlikely that it was so, for his sin was very great, and grace in him had afterwards a perfect work. This same experience is common to all the redeemed family according to the degree in which the Spirit of God has removed the natural heart of stone. We, like Peter, remember our boastful promise: “Though all men shall forsake Thee, yet will not I.” We eat our own words with the bitter herbs of repentance. When we think of what we vowed we would be, and of what we have been, we may weep whole showers of grief. He thought on his denying his Lord. The place in which he did it, the little cause which led him into such heinous sin, the oaths and blasphemies with which he sought to confirm his falsehood, and the dreadful hardness of heart which drove him to do so again and yet again. Can we, when we are reminded of our sins, and their exceeding sinfulness, remain stolid and stubborn? Will we not make our house a Bochim, and cry unto the Lord for renewed assurances of pardoning love? May we never take a dry-eyed look at sin, lest ere long we have a tongue parched in the flames of hell. Peter also thought upon his Master’s look of love. The Lord followed up the cock’s warning voice with an admonitory look of sorrow, pity, and love. That glance was never out of Peter’s mind so long as he lived. It was far more effectual than ten thousand sermons would have been without the Spirit. The penitent apostle would be sure to weep when he recollected the Saviour’s full forgiveness, which restored him to his former place. To think that we have offended so kind and good a Lord is more than sufficient reason for being constant weepers. Lord, smite our rocky hearts, and make the waters flow.

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Posted by on July 30, 2011 in Edification

 

10 Indictments (Video)

Here is Paul Washer’s 10 indictments against the modern evangelical church of today. Although it is two hours long, it is well worth listening to as he shares his heart about the problems seen today in modern churches. Here are the 10 things which he goes through.

1. Sufficiency of Scripture
2. The character of God
3. Man’s sin
4. The gospel and regeneration
5. Unbiblical gospel invitation/Sinners Prayer
6. The Church
7. Church discipline
8. Holiness
9. The family
10. Departure from the faith

Here is the video.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2011 in Edification

 

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Finding True Happiness, Only In Christ

The question often is asked, what makes a person truly happy? Is it that new MacBook Air or iPhone you have been wanting? Perhaps if you could have a relationship with that one girl you have a crush on you would be happy, or maybe if you had different parents or a new television you would be happy? What about if you had 1 million dollars would you then be happy? In each case none of these items and possession or status symbols will ever bring about true satisfaction. Everyone is always searching for something which will bring them satisfaction and a feeling of purpose in life, but what does Scripture have to say on this issue? Looking at Psalm 1 there is a key theme laid out which answers this question. Psalm 1 opens up in this way, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.” The word blessed conveys a similar idea to what is seen in Matthew 5 when Jesus lists the beatitudes and has a truth which answers our question on finding true happiness. Reading further in Psalm 1:2-3 it says “but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” True happiness is not found in anything this world has to offer, instead it is found in something far greater; Jesus Christ. The Christian finds happiness and satisfaction in Christ and Christ alone, meditating on the truths of God’s Word and then applying them to his lifestyle. Merely having a knowledge of Scripture or reading it daily does not lead to a person being changed, rather a person who is meditating on these truths and living the Gospel out daily is the person who Scripture declares to be blessed, to have found true happiness and satisfaction. Jesus illustrates this clearly when He gives the illustration of a person who finds a pearl “of great price” and upon finding this pearl gives up everything he has in order to obtain it. The pearl of great price represents God, the Kingdom of Heaven, and the relationship of what a person who is saved must do; give up everything. The truly born again will be like the man who gives up everything to get the pearl of great price, we will crucify all of our self-desires and passions in order to live for Christ, for as Paul said “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” Remember Solomon who declared all things to be in vain in comparison with living for and serving God. He had all the women he could want, riches, prestige, power, a good name; yet all this still failed to bring him satisfaction in life. Adam Clarke puts it this way below:

1. God made man for happiness.
2. Every man feels a desire to be happy.
3. All human beings abhor misery.
4. Happiness is the grand object of pursuit among all men.
5. But so perverted is the human heart, that it seeks happiness where it cannot be found; and in things which are naturally and morally unfit to communicate it.
6. The true way of obtaining it is here laid down.

The question we must ask ourselves is, do we seek God as our true delight or are we spending our life living for the world and trying to find happiness in something which the Bible declares vanity?

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2011 in Edification

 

The Love of God

If the love of God is construed entirely within the kind of discourse that ties God’s love to our obedience (e.g., “Keep yourselves in the love of God”), the dangers threatening us change once again. True, in a church characterized rather more by personal preference and antinomianism than godly fear of the Lord, such passages surely have something to say to us. But divorced from complementary biblical utterances about the love of God, such texts may drive us backward toward merit theology, endless fretting about whether or not we have been good enough today to enjoy the love of God — to be free from all the paroxysms of guilt from which the cross alone may free us… To sum up: Christian faithfulness entails our responsibility to grow in our grasp of what it means to confess that God is love. ~ D.A. Carson ~

We must be careful as Christians to have a proper grasp of what God’s love is. Today it has been summed up by so many cliche remarks which many times are not always or entirely true in substance. Our standing and position before God is not based on how good or bad our performance has been, but rather it is based off of our standing before Jesus Christ. When the view of merit theology is taken, people base their relationship with God off of their own performance and works instead of the finished work on the cross performed by Jesus Christ who imputed His righteousness to those who are truly born again. Christians today need a better view of what God’s love really is and what the Bible means when it says God loves us. More posts on this issue to follow in the coming days.

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2011 in Edification, Encouragement

 

The Good Shepherd

The LORD is my shepherd,
I lack nothing.
He takes me to lush pastures,
he leads me to refreshing water.
He restores my strength.
He leads me down the right paths
for the sake of his reputation.
Even when I must walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff reassure me.
You prepare a feast before me
in plain sight of my enemies.
You refresh my head with oil;
my cup is completely full.
Surely your goodness and faithfulness will pursue me all my days,
and I will live in the LORD’s house for the rest of my life. ~Psalm 23:1-6 (NET)

What a comforting and reassuring passage for when we go through difficult trials in our life. God is compared as a Shepherd here while we are compared to the sheep who follow the shepherd. In Bible times the shepherd was responsible for the sheep, from protection to leading them to good areas of food and water to taking care of any injured or sick sheep. Over time the shepherd would begin to develop a deep and personal bond with the sheep which he tended and would even be willing to give his life to protect them. If a shepherd hired help, the help would flee at the first sign of danger and were not truly committed to the cause of protecting the sheep. Isn’t it wonderful that we as Christians have a shepherd who will love us and protect us? One who will cultivate a relationship with us, heal our wounds both emotionally and physically when sick, and take us through even the darkest trials in our life? God has promised that even when we are in the “darkest valley” we have no fear, for He is right beside us to protect us and carry us through even the most difficult times. When we feel weak and like we can’t press on any further, God promises to restore our soul and gives us the strength to continue pursuing after righteousness and following Him. In our life there will be times where we go through a lot of stress, hurt, or discouragement in our Christian walk; yet we can rest assured and be comforted knowing God will always deliver and protect us just as the shepherd protects his sheep. We can rest in comfort knowing that our Shepherd has promised His “grace will be sufficient for thee” in every circumstance we may face. As Christians we should not try to go through life depending on friends or people to help us through situations; rather we should turn to God in prayer and reading His Word and realize no matter the problem God will always carry us through as He has promised. Christ is not just all we need, Christ is all we have.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2011 in Encouragement

 

Sin No More..

In John 5 Jesus heals a man who has been by the pool of Bethesday for 38 years without any healing of any kind. After healing this man Jesus turns to him and tells him to “sin no more, lest a worse thing come to thee.” Albert Barnes does a very good job explaining just what the phrase “sin no more” meant in relation to the context and his comments are below.

By this expression it was implied that the infirmity of this man was caused by sin – perhaps by vice in his youth. His crime or dissipation had brought on him this long and distressing affliction. Jesus shows him that he knew the cause of his sickness, and takes occasion to warn him not to repeat it. No man who indulges in vice can tell what may be its consequences. It must always end in evil, and not unfrequently it results in loss of health, and in long and painful disease. This is always the case with intemperance and all gross pleasures. Sooner or later, sin will always result in misery. Do not repeat the vice. You have had dear-bought experience, and if repeated it will be worse. When a man has been restored from the effects of sin, he should learn to avoid the very appearance of evil. He should shun the place of temptation; he should not mingle again with his old companions; he should touch not, taste not, handle not. God visits with heavier judgment those who have been once restored from the ways of sin and who return again to it. The drunkard that has been reformed, and that returns to his habits of drinking, becomes more beastly; the man that professes to have experienced a change of heart, and who then indulges in sin, sinks deeper into pollution, and is seldom restored. The only way of safety in all such cases is to “sin no more;” not to be in the way of temptation; not to expose ourselves; not to touch or approach that which came near to working our ruin. The man who has been intemperate and is reformed, if he tastes the poison at all, may expect to sink deeper than ever into drunkenness and pollution.

The question for us to consider is, in what ways have we turned from our sin and is there any habitual sin in our life which we continue to struggle with? Are we seeking to avoid lawlessness and iniquity and pursue after righteousness or have we tried to “justify” our own sins? If so, we can read this Scripture and hear Jesus speaking to us in the same manner; “Sin no more.”

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2011 in Edification

 

A Deeper Knowledge of God

Many who profess faith seem to think that Christianity is something to add to their already busy lives, not something that controls, constrains, and shapes their vision and all of their goals. The Princeton Religion Research Center, which studies religion in America, has demonstrated that the slight increase during th elast ten years in Americans attending church must be set against the marked decline in professing American Christians who think that there is an essential connection between Christianity and morality. The sad truth is that much American Christianity is returning to raw paganism: the ordinary pagan can be ever so religious without any necessary entailment in ethics, morality, self-sacrifice, or integrity. We need more Bible colleges and seminaries, more theologians, more lay training, more expository preaching. How else are we going to train a whole generation of Christians to think God’s thoughts after Him, other than by teaching them to think through Scripture, to learn the Scriptures well? I am scarcely in a position to criticize expository preaching and seminaries: I have given my life to such ministry. Yet I would be among the first to acknowledge that some students at the institution where I teach, and some faculty too, can devote thousands of hours to the diligent study of Scripture and yet still somehow display an extraordinarily shallow knowledge of God. Biblical knowledge can be merely academic and rigorous, but somehow not edifying, not life-giving, not devout, not guileless.” D.A. Carson, ~A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers~

We must never have just a knowledge of Scripture yet fail to apply the life changing principles of it to our life. A mere knowledge of Scripture will never do a person any good if it is not applied in life, for the Pharisees had a deep knowledge of the Old Testament and the Law and practiced the Law yet were declared by Jesus to be dirty on the inside while the outside appeared to be clean. As Christians we should be careful in the same manner to not just have a knowledge of the Bible but to apply the knowledge in our lives and live out the Gospel day by day.

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2011 in Edification

 
 
In Christ Jesus

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus